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Peter English at the Gabba
November 28, 2009
The new decision review system is only a week old and already Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, is getting misty eyed, dreaming of the days when umpires made their judgments without technology. But Ricky Ponting is a big supporter, thinks it makes the game better and wants it to stay.
Gayle sent both his lbw decisions to the third umpire at the Gabba - Ben Hilfenhaus hit his back leg each time - and they were so hard to argue against that it seemed like a waste of the two unsuccessful challenges a team is given each innings. During the match the ICC's system achieved its aim of not letting any awful mistakes through, but after his side's innings-and-65-run defeat Gayle said he would prefer no replays were involved.
"I'm not a big fan of it," he said after play. "I need your help, I hope you can change it for me."
It might be the winners writing the history, but Ponting felt everything worked well and the umpires did a great job. "It's always going to be good for the game, whether or not every one is right is irrelevant I guess," he said. "We end up getting more correct decisions made."
In the first innings Gayle was 31 when struck right in front by Hilfenhaus and the captain deliberated before using up the review. On Saturday West Indies were in the third over of their follow-on when Gayle called on it again, this time not playing a shot to an inswinger. It was slightly higher than in the first innings and similar to the height of Shane Watson's lbw on the opening day. "It doesn't matter what I think," Gayle said, "the umpire's decision still stands."
He would like the system to be unwound, something which is as unlikely as West Indies fighting back to take the series 2-1. "Technology is part of the game, sometimes there are mistakes even with the technology, that's why I'm not a big fan of it," Gayle said. "Might as well just go out there with two umpires in the middle, they either get it wrong or right."
Mitchell Johnson's caught-behind in Australia's innings appeared not out and Adrian Barath, who scored a brilliant 104 as West Indies were dismissed for 187 to end the game, was given out to an lbw that Hawk-Eye had brushing leg stump. In both instances the third umpire sent the call back to the on-field umpire, as per the conditions, due to no conclusive evidence that the original judgment needed to be overturned.
"Without the system, that's the decision they would have made anyway, so I think that is a good sign," Ponting said. "You look at one like Mitch's in our first innings, the decision was made that was out. It was probably inconclusive on the replays if it was out or not out, but you stick with the decision because that's the way it would have been without the system anyway."
Gayle will still try to get the most out of the challenges in the remaining two games of the series and beyond. "We have to deal with it," he said. "It's there, use it. Hopefully it can be in our favour, maybe next time it will be in our favour."
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